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July 11, 2021by helo-10

MLB Automates Draft League, Appalachian League Broadcasts With Pixellot


Joe Lemire

Major League Baseball has contracted broadcast automation provider Pixellot to record and stream games in two league-affiliated amateur circuits — the new MLB Draft League and the Appalachian League for college players.

Pixellot, which has partnership deals with the National Federation of High Schools and ESPN for college sports coverage, uses artificial intelligence to produce broadcasts without human input.

The Tel Aviv-based company will install multiple cameras at each of the 17 venues in the Draft and Appalachian Leagues. Its computer vision algorithms can detect game situations and follow the action, zooming, panning and now switching angles as needed. Previously, Pixellot relied on single-camera solutions. 

“We are thrilled to know that our newest technological breakthrough – fully automated multi-angle live production – will serve the future stars of Major League Baseball,” David Shapiro, Pixellot’s president of North America, said in a statement. “Baseball is a complex game to film and as a result, is usually expensive to produce. Pixellot’s new multi-angle solution will use AI to switch between cameras and create for the first time ever, a TV-like viewing experience without any operators.”

Fans can watch games live and on demand at the Draft League and Appalachian League sites. Coaches and scouts can access more detailed statistics and highlights via VidSwap, a video analytics platform that Pixellot acquired in Dec. 2019.

Over the past couple years, MLB has overhauled its minor leagues and helped organize new showcases and leagues for amateur players. Until this year, the Appalachian League had been classified as a Rookie Ball circuit, with each franchise affiliated with an MLB club, but is now a summer series for college players. The Draft League, which was launched in partnership with Prep Baseball Report, is a new endeavor open by invitation to eligible prospects.

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